You need quite a lot of courage to travel in a totally foreign country, one other thing you need though — money.
A Belgian couple learned this lesson the hard way. They may have had enough bravery and determination to travel through China, but lacked the funds, and ended up having to ask locals for handouts.
24-year-old newlyweds, Royer and Vertiest, both fresh out of university, decided on making a honeymoon trip to China with a budget of just 4,000 yuan. Arriving in the Middle Kingdom on June 12, they didn’t understand a single word of Chinese. However, by hitchhiking on the roadside they managed to travel through Beijing, Datong and Suzhou, before finally ending up getting lost outside of Chongqing with just 1,100 yuan left in their pockets, Shanghai Daily reports.
They had no alternative but to flag down a passing driver and show him a handwritten sign reading: “Please help us go to Zhangjiajie, we don’t have any money. Thanks!”
Due to the language barriers, the driver instead called the police, hoping that they could help Royer and Vertriest. Officers took the couple back to the station and provided them with food and drinks.
After listening to their story, officers even helped them by writing down some more clear messages in Chinese:
1. We are from Belgium, and we are going to take the K1077 train (23:58) on July 5 from Chongqing to Xiushan.
2. We want to go to Zhangjiajie from Xiushan, please tell us how to get there. Thanks!”
Chinese netizens have had less sympathy for the foreign couple. “They should have carried $4,000; not 4,000 RMB,” they argued.
Courage alone can take you only so far, you also need to do a bit of planning. This Belgian couple should learn from this American one that is carefully mapping out a walk across China, from north to south; or maybe from this father-and-son duo about traveling on a tight budget.
By Sophie Wang
[Images via Shanghai Daily]